Study: Nearly all teachers spend own money on school needs

  • May. 15, 2018 3:40 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Nearly all public school teachers report digging into their pockets to pay for school supplies, spending nearly $480 a year, far more than the federal $250 tax deduction available to teachers.

The findings by the National Center of Education Statistics released Tuesday come as teachers across the country are walking out of classrooms to protest low pay and demand pay raises. Helping teachers pay for class supplies was a key demand during the Arizona teachers’ strike.

Ninety-four per cent of public school teachers say they spent their own money on notebooks, pens and other supplies in the 2014-15 school year without reimbursement, according to the study. The average amount spent was $479. About 44 per cent spent $250 or less, while 36 per cent spent $251 to $500.

Currently, teachers who spend their personal money on children’s classroom needs are able to reduce their taxable income by $250. That amounts to roughly $30-$60 in savings for each teacher, according to the American Federation of Teachers, a relatively small sum that is still regarded as a token of appreciation by educators.

Teachers pushed back strongly last year when the tax bill passed by the House called for eliminating the deduction altogether. The Senate version of the bill, meanwhile, sought to raise the deduction to $500. In the end, the two chambers reached a compromise, and the deduction remained unchanged.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Tuesday that the study demonstrates a lack of funding of public schools in America.

“Educators want to help children; that is why as long as their kids lack the essentials, educators will continue to dig deep, while fighting the defunding and underinvestment that created this crisis in the first place,” Weingarten said in a statement. “There is no other job I know where the workers subsidize what should be a cost borne by an employer as a necessary ingredient of the job.”

The study also found that teachers in high-poverty schools were more likely to spend personal money on school supplies. Eighty-six per cent of teachers in schools that don’t participate in free or reduced lunch school program said they paid for classroom needs, while around 94 to 95 per cent of teachers in schools that did participate in the programs said they paid for classroom needs.

Just Posted

Woman who posed as animal control officer sentenced in Red Deer court

B.C. woman sentenced to 90 days in prison after targeting and harassing Innisfail dog owner

One of the last buildings needed for Red Deer’s 2019 Winter Games is being completed

RDC residence is on schedule, despite ‘tight’ time-frame, says RDC official

Red Deer singer/songwriter is Top 3 finalist in Project Wild

Ryan Langlois, who wins at least $50,000, will find out Nov. 24 if he gets top prize

Man charged in fatal hit and run in North Red Deer

‘The victim had been standing by a parked vehicle, not in the traffic lane, when he was hit’

A No-Go: Athletes and officials weigh in after Calgary votes ‘no’ to 2026 bid

TORONTO — Rotating Olympic hosts? A single go-to destination every four years?… Continue reading

Predators may have NHL’s best goalie combo on, off ice

NASHVILLE — Pekka Rinne is off to an even better start than… Continue reading

Canadian Premier League buys Ontario’s League 1, looks to develop talent there

TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League has bought Ontario’s League 1 and… Continue reading

2015 ‘Bachelor’ star pleads guilty to reduced charge

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa — A farmer who appeared on ABC’s “The Bachelor” pleaded… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ returning in April 2019 for final season

LOS ANGELES — The eighth and last season of “Game of Thrones”… Continue reading

Big question for Amazon’s 2 chosen cities: Will it pay off?

WASHINGTON — The awarding of Amazon’s second headquarters to two affluent localities… Continue reading

Calgarians vote ‘no’ on 2026 Olympic bid in non-binding plebiscite

CALGARY — The results are in, and a majority of Calgarians are… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl scores and adds two assists to power Oilers past Canadiens 6-2

EDMONTON — Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists and Connor… Continue reading

Most Read